Welcome to my 5 catering industry cooking hacks. I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 35 years and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks on the journey. I’m happy to share a few of them with you below.
Cooking too salty…..
So, you’ve made a casserole, stew or soup and you’ve added too much salt. Firstly, add about half a litre of water to the liquid and put in 3 medium size peeled potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. It should be noted the potatoes should sit below the liquid level. Subsequently, the potatoes will draw the salt from the liquid. This happened to me last week with a slow roast and I actually left the potato in the braising liquor and I used it as an accompanying sauce.
Burnt sauce/soup hack
I was catering in Florida when I picked up this little gem. If you detect a burnt smell coming from a sauce or soup, firstly turn off the heat and fill the sink with about 3cm of cold water and put the pan in the water to stop it burning more. Secondly, pour the liquid into another pan, but don’t scrape out anything off the bottom. Start adding honey gradually to mask the burnt flavour.
Industry tricks to make cutting easier.
Sharp knives are essential in a kitchen, nevertheless they will blunt over time. If you need to cut meat or fish in a clean sliced or diced shape then use this hack to semi freeze the protein before cutting. Importantly the freezing process will have little or no effect on the quality of the meat/fish. We use this method when we cut the duck for our Peking duck pancakes.
Doming catering cakes?
You’ve got one of the kid’s birthdays coming up and you want to do a layered cake. Despite your best efforts the cakes come out with dry edges and domes. Why not try this pastry chef hack? Firstly, the edge is dry and brittle and in addition you have to cut the top off to make it flat for layering or decoration. Try using a cake strip. You can buy cake strips from Willoughby Cake Dec (support local) or eBay/Amazon for about $8 to $10. You can also DIY your own. First, damp paper towel with water and fold length ways into a strip that’s the same depth as the cake tin you’re using. Next, tear a strip of foil slightly longer and again fold the foil around the paper towel so it envelops it totally. Finally, wrap the foil strip around the cake tin and crimp the ends, tuck any excess underneath the cake tin and you’re ready to fill and bake. As you’re insulating the edge of the cake tin, this process will definitely increase the bake time.
Egg wash evenly
If you’re up for making your own pies, sausage rolls or veggie rolls you might use a pastry brush to egg wash before baking. Alternatively, try putting the egg wash into an atomiser and spraying a fine mist onto the pastry. In particular, you’ll get a nice even coating and avoid pooling of egg in certain areas. Moreover, this process avoids knocking the gas out of delicate products like bread dough and brioche. Make sure you clean the atomiser afterwards with detergent as the egg will turn sour after about 3 days.